Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh boy, Mardy

Over on Twitter today, Reem of Game, Set, Match fame said she talked to Mardy Fish after his loss to Mikhail Youzhny in Dubai, and he said he's lacking confidence right now.

I guess the season he's had will do that to a player.

He flamed out last week in Marseille to someone ranked 380 spots below him, went winless in Hopman Cup, lost in the second round at the Australian Open. This all comes on the heels of finishing as the top-ranked American for the first time in his career.

The only bright spot that he's had in '12 was a pretty big one, being part of two of the five wins the U.S. Davis Cup team racked up on the road against Switzerland. Those results show that the game is there. It could be all in the head.

Perhaps it's knowing opportunity is there to move higher in the rankings as points are few and far between to defend from 2011's first half. There are still big chances to turn things around in Indian Wells and Miami, though -- provided he holds up under the pressure.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ferrer, Tsonga and the Five Spot

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's in the semifinals of Marseille, continuing his run of good form.

David Ferrer is in the semis of the ATP tournament in Buenos Aires, and with the way he's played so far this season, you'd have to like his chances to get to the finals.

Ferrer, at five in the rankings, has a 185-point lead on Tsonga at six. Tsonga has been coming on STRONG for the past few months, and is ready to go even higher than where he is now in the standings. But Ferrer has had a vicelike grip on the five spot and it's hard to imagine him slipping a bit because if there's one thing Ferrer is now it's consistent.

There might be some shuffling among the "Big 4," but the race between five and six is probably more exciting. If Tsonga does break through, which could happen real soon, how long would he be able to hold onto it with Ferrer nipping at his heels?

This could go on all season, and have a big impact on Tour results over the season--especially at the Slams. At the Majors, the fifth-ranked person would more than likely face the fourth-ranked player in the quarters, which is usually the spot where the lower-ranked one can make a breakthrough.

That can be beneficial for Ferrer and/or Tsonga--whoever gets there and stays there.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I still believe in Andy Roddick...

... Or else I wouldn't have written the story that I did yesterday!

I put something up on the sports website Bleacher Report before Roddick's match with Xavier Malisse, saying that despite Roddick being at his lowest spot in the rankings in a decade, it's too soon to count him out.

The recent results would indicate otherwise, of course, but there are a lot of factors working in his favor that could see him in the top 15 by the end of the year. Funny thing: Memphis points were his last big ones to defend for a while now. Quarterfinal or semi runs in Indian Wells or Miami could put him toward the top 20 after they're all said and done.

However, doing that well at those two big Masters Series events will be a tall order, considering where his form is right now. It's not outside the realm of possibility, though.

(Photo: AP)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do not adjust your computers: It's a post from TTA?!

Sorry about that folks!

I had been a little busy the past few weeks, but I'm back now. At least I hadn't missed much, right? Sure, there was that U.S. Davis Cup win over Switzerland, Roger Federer picking up his first title of the season, Victoria Azarenka continuing her unbeaten streak on the year, Milos Raonic picking up his second title in '12, Angelique Kerber joining the winner's circle, Ryan Harrison making a semifinal and Andy Roddick losing early in San Jose.

Other than that, it's been slow times, right?

Anyway, as I said, I'm back now and ready to bring you back to your regularly scheduled blogging. See you soon!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Juan Monaco: back in business?

I remember waaay back in the day (2007-08) when it appeared Juan Monaco was going to be the latest in a long line of Argentines to crack the top 10. In 2007, he won three titles on clay and a few months later had hit his career-high ranking of 14.

Things were looking pretty good, but for whatever reason, they stalled: seven straight finals lost over the past few years and time spent outside of the top 60. It seemed he was getting lapped by players without his pedigree for a good chunk of time.

However, the past few months have been quite a different story: Monaco made the round of 16 at the U.S. Open and had a solid fall indoor season. He lost a tough five-setter at the Australian Open to kick off his '12 campaign, but this past week wasn't so bad as he won the tournament in Chile for his first title since '07.

Now that he's back in the winner's circle, his confidence should be at an even-higher level than what he's exhibited the past few months. Of course, there's a ton of tennis to be played going forward, but his solid all-court game could take him further than he's gone before.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

There goes Michael Russell, the last of the Americans

As I've been lying around with this injured calf muscle of mine (dang serving and volleying!), I've been wondering about something, which, to tell the truth, has been a niggling thought in the back of my head for years now:

Why don't American men on the ATP play more?

The only player in a main draw out of three events was Michael Russell, who lost in the second round in Montpellier, France, to Gael Monfils. So just like that, Bobby Reynolds remains the only male player from the U.S. to make a quarterfinal this year.


But if no one's playing, what are the chances of that improving?

I know next week is the first round of the Davis Cup, but not every American is on the team. Why wasn't Donald Young in France? Or Ryan Sweeting in Zagreb? But back to Davis Cup for a second: Why couldn't Ryan Harrison or John Isner dipped down to Chile and try to get in some clay-court practice before next weekend's tie against Switzerland?

I don't know what really goes into shaping a player's schedule, but playing only one warmup, if that, in Australia (which it seems many of the American players did) obviously didn't pay off. Skipping the options out there this week probably won't have much of a positive impact either. Odds are most of the Americans will reconvene in San Jose, but from the end of the first week of the Australian Open until then, you're almost looking at a month off.

It could be too late by then to start making up for lost time and lost opportunities.